Every word spoken, added to the physical mass. Charlie oversaw words and made sure that no one overused them. Words were precious, you see: a commodity that no one could do much without, yet paradoxically must not speak too often. They powered lights and made the cars run on time. If not for words, likely they would all be dead.
But then came a stranger into the town, who spoke freely, and with words they’d never heard before. Charlie grew worried about him but had no significant reason to remove him, he was but one man, and a kind enough sort at that.
But, yes, later, there was something wrong, there was something off. He used a swear. No one had ever heard it before—and it brought forth chaos.
Those hateful words, tainted words, added to the pile. And with them came thoughts the same as them. Violence overtook the town and grew too rampant to contain. In a way though, the town worked itself out in the worst of ways. The mass grew high with hateful new words and cascaded past its border walls, wiping that dear old place off the map as effortlessly as a flood or a tornado could.
Charlie was the lone survivor, and, even though he could not stand it, not forgive it, for what it had caused, he said the word that burned brightly in his heart: